17 Spring Blooming Perennials, Evergreens, and Bulbs

There can be a gap in blooming time between the blooms of Tulips and Daffodils, and your common summer perennials, so these are seventeen of my favorite mid-spring bloomers that help bridge the blossom gap in the garden and keep color moving through your yard.  If you need a pop of color to tide you over before it gets warm, try your hand at growing one of these!

 17 Spring Blooming Perennials, Evergreens, and Bulbs

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A Peach Rose and Superbell Container Garden

IMG 2739 A Peach Rose and Superbell Container Garden

This peach themed container design works in partial sun and shade, to fully sunny locations, and features a mix of perennial and annual flowers, and shrubs.  In cool climates, only the Roses in this container will last from year to year, but in warm climates the Coleus can be perennial as well. Want to recreate this look?

The Ingredients:

  • 1  Peach ‘Daybreaker’ Floribunda Rose
  • 3 Different Varieties of Coleus
  • 3 Peach Superbells

I chose to contrast the peach of the Roses and Superbells with the bright reds and purples of Coleus, and I think it looks lush and bright, just in time for summer!

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A Homemade Anti-Fungal Spray

IMG 2632 1024x768 A Homemade Anti Fungal Spray

I have an amazing espalier rosebush in my backyard this year that is setting records with the sheer amount of blooms on it.  Unfortunately it’s also suddenly covered in black spot fungus, and needs some major help right now.

Black spot is caused by a fungal infestation that occurs in wet locations, or humid places.  It can be triggered by late evening watering, or misting sprinklers, and it spreads rapidly on roses if it’s not caught right away and pruned out.  For bushes with major black spot problems a store-bought anti-fungal spray, or an application of horticultural oil can work adequately, but for the DIYers like myself, a home remedy will fix the problem and save you the gas and pocket money.

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A Formal Rose Container Design

IMG 2625 607x1024 A Formal Rose Container Design

Formal container designs look organized and crisp in any setting, but my favorite place to use these is around doorway entrances. This week I chose to flank the front door to a busy office building with two matching formal rose designs that look like this, using a blue and hot pink palette.

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Hedgerow Roses: Pruning For Blossoms

IMG 2495 1024x1024 Hedgerow Roses:  Pruning For Blossoms

Hedgerow roses have been used for centuries to ornament walkways, and as a natural fencing method for livestock.  If you are pruning roses for livestock, a taller, and more “woody” rose is what you need to contain your animals.  If your hedgerow roses are simply for aesthetics, then you should prune them in a way that will maximize your blossoms. Here is my prescription for yearly pruning.

Timing: Early spring is the best time to complete heavy pruning to your hedgerows, choose a day for this project after the danger of severe frost has past. By pruning at the same time that the plant is coming out of dormancy, and before the majority of insect pests are prolific enough to damage it, the bush can maximize it’s growth, produce more leaves and flowers, and heal before it is vulnerable to pests, or the stress of summer heat.

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Five Uses For: Coffee Grounds

2371437304 886ceef001 300x168 Five Uses For: Coffee Grounds

If you’re like me, the coming of spring and warm temperatures has zero say on your ability to consume coffee, but here are five ways you may not have thought of to dispose of the leftover grounds while putting them to good use.  

  1. Shake coffee grounds around Roses, Cactus, Rhododendrons, and Camellias in place of a seasonal fertilizer and plant food for beautiful blooms on a budget. 
  2. Toss the grounds around in your lawn in the bald spots in place of fertilizer, and watch the grass recover and patch itself back up. 
  3. Brew something up that worms can’t resist, and catch your own live bait for fishing trips.  Coffee grounds make excellent worm food in your composting areas, but you can scatter the grounds in open areas, or around the edges of your lawn to trick worms into braving the open air. 
  4. Create an ant proof barrier under a door or outside a window sill with a line of coffee grounds.  Ants do not like the smell of coffee, and can be trained from using cracks in your foundation, window sills, and doorways as entrances with liberally sprinkled grounds at their point of entry. 
  5. Beat the Spring snow with coffee grounds sprinkled over steps, and decking to encourage quick melting, and give traction in slippery areas.  Ground coffee is a great safe alternative to commercial ice melt products that can harm your wooded structures, and plants.
Your Thoughts:  There are dozens more ways to get added mileage from your coffee grounds, what do you use yours for?
 
Photo courtesy of D’Arcy Norman

Roses: When To Begin Spring Pruning


img 0050 225x300 Roses: When To Begin Spring PruningEarly spring is the perfect time to do large scale cut backs on your rose bushes to encourage new growth, and a bush full of blooms!

The key to spring pruning is to trim just as the plant is budding and waking up from its winter dormancy. A bush that has grown “leggy” over the course of several years can be trimmed all the way back to about 8 inches in height at this time safely to encourage a fuller plant. The best way to identify your spring window of opportunity is to watch the blooming of the Forsythia plants for your cue.

Rose breeders recommend trimming your roses when Forsythias are blooming, usually at the end of March. Although roses will bloom through the summer and fall, the heaviest pruning and shaping of the plant should be done at the beginning of the growing season, when the cool temperatures, and lack of insects make pruning wounds easy to recover from. 

Successful Pruning

When considering your rose bush  for pruning, identify any “woody” stems on the plant that are giving the plant height, but reduced bloom production, and place these on the top of you list for pruning. Even an aging plant with dead sections can benefit from strong pruning in the spring to encourage new shoots to emerge from the roots.  

Most roses can benefit from a heavier pruning every few years to encourage blooming, and to keep the plant full and pliable. If your roses have had more bare stems than fruitful branches with leaves and buds in the past few years, your bush is ripe for a spring pruning. If you are hesitant to trim the whole plant at once, select a few feeder stems and prune them heavily to within 6-10 inches of the ground.

Spring thinning and pruning will rejuvenate your plants and soon have you reaping the benefits of a far healthier plant.